In Memoriam


29/10/1924 (Lwow-Lemberg) - 28/7/1998 (Warsaw)



Two Poems translated by Roman Turovsky and Sean Monagle


Mr. Cogito's Soul

we know from history
she'd leave the body
when the heart stopped

at the last breath
she'd go off
to heavenly pastures

Mr. Cogito's soul
behaves in a different way

she leaves his living body
without a parting word

for months for years she's a guest
on other continents
beyond his bounds

it is not easy to find her address
she doesn't report her whereabouts

she avoids contacts
writes no letters

It is not known when she'll come back
maybe she's left him forever

Mr.Cogito wants to overcome
his base feelings of jealousy

he thinks well of his soul
he thinks of her tenderly

perhaps she must live
in other bodies as well

the number of souls
is insufficient for Mankind anyway

Mr.Cogito accepts his destiny
he has no alternative

he thinks of his soul with feeling
with a tender solicitude

and when all of a sudden
she returns
he doesn't greet her with the words
-it is good you are back

He just watches out of the corner of his eye
how she sits by the mirror
and combs her hair
-tangled and gray


Translated by Roman Turovsky and Sean Monagle



The Poet

He's no angel
he is a poet

he has no wings
just has a feathered
right hand

he beats the air with it
levitates by three spans
and falls promptly

when he is almost alighted
pushes away with his legs
hovers for an instant
waves the feathered hand

oh if he only could overcome the pull of the clay
he could live in the nest of the stars
he could jump from ray to ray
if he only could -

but the stars
at the mere thought
of being his earth
fall off in mortal fright

the poet covers his eyes
with his feathered hand
dreams no more of flight
dreams of fall
that like a lightning draws
infinity's profile


Translated by Roman Turovsky and Sean Monagle